Priming the inflammatory pump of the CNS after traumatic brain injury

Trends Neurosci. 2015 Oct;38(10):609-620. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2015.08.002.


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can lead to secondary neuropsychiatric problems that develop and persist years after injury. Mounting evidence indicates that neuroinflammatory processes progress after the initial head injury and worsen with time. Microglia contribute to this inflammation by maintaining a primed profile long after the acute effects of the injury have dissipated. This may set the stage for glial dysfunction and hyperactivity to challenges including subsequent head injury, stress, or induction of a peripheral immune response. This review discusses the evidence that microglia become primed following TBI and how this corresponds with vulnerability to a 'second hit' and subsequent neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative complications.

Keywords: immune challenge; microglia; neuroinflammation; priming; traumatic brain injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Injuries / immunology*
  • Central Nervous System / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Microglia / immunology*
  • Neuroimmunomodulation / physiology